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Poster: dethwort Date: Sep 30, 2012 1:21pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Before or after the "hiatus" ?

Due to my age, I wasn't able to "get on the bus" until 1989. Naturally, I faithfully followed until the sad end in 1995. Many years later, I discovered this treasure trove of shows and immediately began to download the ones that I attended. After I savored the high points of that era (there were a few) I dug deeper and further back and, as most of you have, uncovered many, many gems. Now I'm debating as to whether or not The Boys were "better" before or after their 1975 hiatus. I'm talking about "right" before and "right" after. So late 1974, early 1976. Your thoughts ?

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Sep 30, 2012 9:26pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Before or after the 'hiatus' ?

I treasure many moments from '76, but I think the Dead were better in '74.
The band sounded more agile when Bill K was the only drummer.
A lot of material in early '76 suffered from the slowness syndrome.
They were more likely to spring some enormous jam on you in '74. (Though there are still some examples of surprise mini-jams between songs in '76.)
Some of my favorite material disappeared in '76 - Dark Star, China Cat, even Truckin' with its jam possibilities. (And only one He's Gone!)
Of the jam tunes that remained, Eyes & Let It Grow & the Other One did not extend as far as they used to (with a few exceptions), and Playing in the Band definitely lost a few steps in '76. The Dead, in short, were much less mind-bending.

It's a close thing, though. '76 does still have some of the last vestiges of the pre-hiatus style - Keith's still active in the jams, and there's still real improv & thematic jams happening in the medleys.
I could see you making a case for '76 in other areas - with some new songs like Slipknot & Crazy Fingers & the disco stuff, the band was a bit more diverse than it had been, and a bit less country-sounding. '76 was also a key year for surprise segues & strange song combinations (something you don't see too much in '74). Garcia also had an especially sweet tone that year.

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Poster: utopian Date: Oct 1, 2012 1:45pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Before or after the 'hiatus' ?

I would say the first half of 74 is vastly better than 76, which is a little slow for my liking.

But judging by the reviews and my own ear 77 is when the band hit its stride of timeless classic sound. 73-summer 74, while I think it's the best of the early 70's, the sound has leaned too much in the country/folk realm to be considered in a higher caliber than the blistering psychedelic sound of 68 or the best of 77-79

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Poster: cosmicharIie Date: Sep 30, 2012 2:22pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Before or after the 'hiatus' ?

Well, in 1974 they were burning out and in 1976 just re-starting toward a 2yr "Exactly Perfect" peak. On JUST the time period you mentioned...I prefer 1976 to 1974.

That said, I'd rather compare the solid 1973's to the solid 1977's...apples and oranges, tho I prefer 1973 more often cuz I'm BIG on Darkstars

This post was modified by cosmicharIie on 2012-09-30 21:22:30

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Poster: jerlouvis Date: Sep 30, 2012 3:28pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Before or after the 'hiatus' ?

There is no debate,late 74' is better in every aspect.

Eyes ->China Doll
GSET,Ship of Fools,Eyes
Brown Eyed,Wharf Rat
Scarlet,jam out of WRS
PITB,UJB,Big River
Deal,El Paso,PITB,Let it Grow,Spanish jam,Eyes
Around & Around,PITB
Brown Eyed,Scarlet
B.T. Wind,Roses,Deal,El Paso,Let it Grow,To Lay Me Down,Around &,U.S. Blues
Loser,PITB,Let it Grow
China Cat,Roses,jam and space out of Truckin'
Eyes,Playin'-> Scarlet-> Playin',UJB,Spanish jam,Other One
Dark Star -> Morning Dew,U.S. Blues
Deal,Scarlet,Big River
UJB,FOTD,B.T. Wind,Scarlet,Row Jimmy,To Lay Me Down,PITB,Peggy-O,Caution
PITB,jam into Wharf Rat,jam into Eyes,Eyes
Morning Dew,Promised Land,Ship of Fools
Cold Rain,Tennessee Jed,Stella Blue

all performances listed were very good to extraordinary versions

There was some very good music performed in 76',outside of the High Time from 6/19 which was brilliant,I am not inclined to cite anything else,I'm sure some folks will champion their favorites.

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Poster: Diamondhead Date: Sep 30, 2012 3:34pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Before or after the 'hiatus' ?

Don't agree. If burning out led them to the run of shows between May and October 74, I wished they'd burned out a couple more times.